Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Moonlight mentioned in NPR article about Vampires

Margot Adler has written a wonderful article, for NPR, about the popularity of Vampires. She specifically quotes Moonlight to illustrate one reason she believes there is such a craze for vamps at the moment! The lines (highlighted in yellow) are taken from the Dr. Feelgood episode (#1x03).

I will quote a few key things here for you. To read the entire article, just follow the link below. Please, share with us your thoughts on the recent Vampyre frenzy!

For Love Of Do-Good Vampires: A Bloody Book List
by Margot Adler

We've been inundated with vampires this past decade, and we don't simply mean bloodsuckers like Bernie Madoff.

In the 1980s, it's true, there was a similar surge of interest in vampires, with Whitley Strieber's The Hunger and the wildly popular novels of Anne Rice. But the past few years have seen a new crop of intriguingly different vampires — seemingly conflicted souls, from Bill Compton in HBO's True Blood to Stefan in the CW's television series The Vampire Diaries and, of course, Edward Cullen in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books.

Even here at NPR, if you look at the archives, there have been at least 20 recent stories about vampires. What is it about our society now — the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times — that's making vampires so popular? And why are most of the vampires we are seeing struggling to be moral?

A confession: In the past nine months, I've read 75 vampire novels. I'll get to why later, but let's first step back in history.

Vampires have been a constant in folklore around the world, but our modern notion of the vampire came out of a particular cultural moment in 1816. Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and John Polidori came together in a chalet in Switzerland to do a kind of literary exercise. Out of that retreat came Shelley's novel Frankenstein and Polidori's Vampyre, the first vampire story in the English language. And there was a reason, rooted in immense changes that were under way in the world of ideas.

"A shocking thing was occurring," says Strieber, the author of two other vampire novels in addition to The Hunger. "Science was beginning to seem to be able to challenge the very nature of life itself."

Since then, vampires have been used again and again as a way to speak of our fears and concerns.

"It's almost this perfect vessel," says Eric Nuzum, an NPR colleague and the author of The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula. "If you want to understand any moment in time, or any cultural moment, just look at their vampires."

A vampire's near-immortality is probably why I ended up reading 75 vampire novels. I'd been caring for a seriously ill loved one, and as a result, I had been spending a lot of time thinking deeply about issues of mortality. I had also occasionally fantasized what it would be like not to have to think about that.

But what I started noticing as I read all these novels and looked at all the recent television shows featuring vampires is that their near-immortality isn't the most interesting thing about them. Almost all of these current vampires are struggling to be moral. It's conventional to talk about vampires as sexual, with their hypnotic powers and their intimate penetrations and their blood-drinking and so forth. But most of these modern vampires are not talking as much about sex as they are about power.

Take the CBS show Moonlight, which aired for only one season in 2007-2008. Mick St. John is a private investigator who is also a vampire. In one scene, he's trying to reason with a violent rogue vampire by telling him, "We have rules."

The rogue responds, "There are no rules: I'm top of the food chain."

"This is the central question of so many vampire novels and films, " says Amy Smith, a professor of English at the University of the Pacific. "If you had power over people, how would you use it? 'We can do what we want' vs. 'We were human, how can you treat humans as if they were cattle?' "

People keep going back to these stories because they illustrate a tension that exists in real life, Smith says.

Photograph ~ Vampire Mick St John (Alex O'Loughlin) disposing of a rogue vamp in Moonlight tv show's Dr. Feelgood episode (#1x03)

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I heard this on NPR a few weeks ago. I was excited to ehar that Moonlight hasn't been forgotten!